Storm rolls past Mercury, 85-59

Jewell Loyd leads Seattle with 18 points in preseason finale

SEATTLE – Jewell Loyd scored 18 points in just 20 minutes of action, and Nneka Ogwumike added 15 on Tuesday night as the Seattle Storm finished their preseason schedule with an 85-59 rout of the Phoenix Mercury in Climate Pledge Arena.

Except for a 4-4 tie, the Storm led the entire way and gained a split of their two preseason games after dropping an 84-79 decision to the Los Angeles Sparks last Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta.

Seattle went ahead to stay with a 8-0 run to take a 12-4 lead. Phoenix got as close as 14-11, then the Storm took command with a 14-2 scoring burst to make it 28-13 with 11 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Up 45-28 at halftime, Seattle’s lead grew to as many as 28 points on multiple occasions, the last time at 70-42 midway through the fourth quarter.

Loyd hit 6 of 15 from the field and grabbed five rebounds. Ogwumike, who had just four points on 1-of-6 shooting against Los Angeles last Saturday, drained 6 of 8 on Tuesday with one of those makes from 3-point range, and hit both of her free throws in her Seattle homecourt debut.

Skylar Diggins-Smith, also making her home debut in a Storm uniform, handed out a game-high nine assists to go along with nine points.

Jordan Horston pulled down a team-leading nine rebounds in just 14-plus minutes.

Storm rookie Nika Mühl, a 6-foot guard from Connecticut taken No. 14 overall in last month’s WNBA draft, saw her Storm action when she subbed in with 2:10 left in the first quarter. She wound up with six points, three rebounds and two assists in almost 20 minutes. Half of her points came on her first 3-pointer, a shot from the right corner that bounced high off the rim and dropped through with 1:58 left in the third quarter.

Phoenix was led by 10 points from Diana Taurasi, all in the first half as none of the Mercury starters played after halftime.

The Storm hit 42 percent from the floor (29 of 69) and limited Phoenix to just 31.9 percent (22 of 69).

Seattle opens regular-season play next Tuesday at home against the Minnesota Lynx, tipping off at 7:00 p.m.

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